Climate Change Impacts on Human and Natural Systems

The natural science and civil and environmental engineering units at the University of Washington carry out a wide range of investigations into climate change impacts on Human and Natural Systems. One research unit on campus, the CIG, is specifically focused on these issues for the Pacific Northwest (PNW)region.

The University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group (CIG), an interdisciplinary research group that is part of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and the Ocean (JISAO) and an affiliate of the Program on Climate Change, conducts research on the impacts of natural climate variability and global climate change on the Pacific Northwest(PNW). The Climate Impacts Group is unique in its focus on the intersection of climate science, climate sensitive natural resources, and public policy surrounding the management of those resources. Faculty and students at CIG perform basic research aimed at understanding the consequences of climate fluctuations for the PNW and promoting application of this information in regional decisions. This research includes retrospective analyses of past climate variations and their impacts in both the historical and paleo-climate records, and prospective analyses that evaluate the impacts of projected changes in future climate at seasonal-to-interannual, decadal, and centennial time scales. CIG's assessment examines climate impacts on four diverse, yet connected, natural systems of the PNW
- and the human socioeconomic and/or political systems associated with each. CIG works to provide regional planners, decision makers, and natural resource managers with valuable knowledge about the ways in which crucial regional resources are vulnerable to changes in climate and how this vulnerability could best be reduced.